Saturday, January 25, 2014

Iceland Gull on an Icy Day

"Holy Shit!" I exclaimed, unable to contain my excitement.  The wind was howling, churning Harris Lake's gray waters, and the temperatures were barely above freezing.  It was cold, real cold.  And centered in my scope was an all-white gull from the far north.  "That's an Iceland!!!"  I bolted back to the car and grabbed my camera.  This is a very rare bird in this area - in fact, it's only the 6th state record away from the coastal plain.   Iceland Gull is a bird I've always wanted to find in North Carolina, but I thought my first would be on the Outer Banks, where they are regular visitors - not just a few miles from my house like this one.
Iceland Gull today at Harris Lake
Also present were Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, one representative from each species.  These birds are also rare in the area, though not nearly as rare as the Iceland.  We spent a few minutes observing this beautiful, ghostly bird before all of the gulls took off and we lost it in the crowd.  An incredible sighting, and probably the best bird I've ever seen in Wake County.

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